Over the past week, we’ve heard about dozens of worthwhile ways to help the victims of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, but one recent announcement caught our eyes—and nose.
Renegade perfumer Paris-based Louison Libertin, who produces his label, technique indiscrete, is giving back to the community of Kanku in Northeastern Japan—an area known for its lavender fields. Libertin had been working with a perfume factory there, and the town was hard hit by the recent disasters.
No less than 100 percent of the proceeds of his limited edition flacon "For Them" will go back to residents of Kanku. $52 for a 50ml bottle.
Events are moving quickly in Japan as engineers at a nuclear plant in Fukushima are trying to bring three stricken reactors under control. Tokyo is 170 miles south from Fukushima, and though prevailing winds are sweeping most of the radiation to the Pacific Ocean, residents say a feeling of anxiety pervades the capital. Aftershocks wake them up at night. Lines are long at supermarkets, where staples such as milk and rice are selling out quickly. “The streets are eerily quiet compared to the usual hustle and bustle of this massive city,” says Rachael White, an American teacher and blogger based in Tokyo. White and others, however, note that people remain calm—a reflection of Japanese fortitude.
As a traveler, the most you can do in the event of a nuclear meltdown is get as far away as possible or head for the basement. But there are steps you can take to increase your chances of survival in an earthquake and/or a tsunami. Japan is located in the world’s most seismically active regions—the Pacific Ring of Fire, which includes the West Coast. About 90 percent of earthquakes happen here, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. And Tokyo is still bracing for the Big One that experts say is long overdue. (Friday’s massive quake occurred along the northeastern fault line, rather than the southwest fault line that affects Tokyo more directly. It last ruptured in 1854.) The second most active region stretches from the Mediterranean into northern India.
BBC Travel | There is still more than a year to go before the Olympic Games light up London’s sky, but already, enthusiastic crowds can be found peering into the largest construction site in Europe. The city has come down with a widespread, and highly contagious, case of Olympic fever. (...)
On 27 July, 2012, when the torch is lit inside the main stadium, London will become the only three-time host of the event since the Olympics were revitalized in 1896. (...)
If you’ve spent your time agonizing over which showcases to attend in Austin next week during the South by Southwest (SXSW) music, film, and interactive festival, instead of searching for a place to crash, you can relax.
Brand new hotel collection, Travaasa Destinations, along with fashion website StyleCaster, is offering an all-inclusive preview package for a three night/four day stay from March 17-20 at the Travaasa Austin before it opens to the public in April.
New Jersey Star Ledger | By all accounts, the Federal Aviation Administration’s "tarmac rule" has dramatically reduced the number of passengers who are stuck inside an aircraft on the ground for three hours or more.
Violations of the rule, which went into effect last April, can cost airlines $27,500 per passenger, or $2.75 million for a planeload of 100 people going nowhere fast. In fact, there were just three cases nationwide of three-hour tarmac delays in December—compared with 34 the previous December, according to the federal Department of Transportation, the FAA’s parent agency.
But critics say an unintended consequence of the rule is becoming apparent and spoiling travel plans for a far greater number of would-be fliers.
A Star-Ledger analysis of federal DOT figures reveals airlines are simply canceling more flights, presumably to avoid idling on the tarmac and exposing themselves to the whopping fines. In fact, the cancellation rate at the nation’s major airports surged 24 percent during the eight months after the rule went into effect.
Ken Burns, whose documentaries about our nation have taught us more than any textbook, believes that American history “doesn’t have to be a dose of castor oil.” To prove it, he’s joined forces with 85-year-old tour operator Tauck (tours from $4,390) to create customized U.S. itineraries based on his most beloved sites and subjects. “As a filmmaker, I’ve had access that many people don’t get,” Burns says. “I’m excited to share my experiences.” A 10-day tour of six national parks takes in the Grand Canyon as well as Arches, in Utah, a personal favorite of Burns’s, and includes a private “flight-seeing” adventure over Capitol Reef National Park. Burns is planning Tauck’s five-day jaunt to New Orleans in October. His favorite spots in the Big Easy: “Arnaud’s for Creole food and Preservation Hall for music are classics.” David A. Keeps is a contributor to Travel + Leisure
Be on the lookout for these new art projects this coming spring.
Architecture The charming port city of Avilés, in northern Spain, has unveiled the Centro Niemeyer—designed by 103-year-old architect Oscar Niemeyer, the Brazilian poet of poured concrete. Programming at the cultural center includes art, opera, and film and kicks off this spring with “La Luz,” an exhibition about light curated by acclaimed Spanish film director Carlos Saura.
Museum The Carlos Slim Foundation’s newest masterpiece? The Museo Soumaya, in Mexico City’s Polanco district. Architect Fernando Romero’s six-story building—a torqued pavilion of steel, glass, and aluminum—will house a collection ranging from old masters (Rubens; Tintoretto) to Modernist works (Picasso; Tamayo).
CNN | Mood lighting, club music and pre-flight safety briefings from virtual celebrities: Gamblers may soon have a swanky new way to arrive in Las Vegas, Nevada.
LV Air, a new airline that hopes to start service this fall with four daily nonstop flights between the gaming capital and New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, promises to bring a bit of Sin City fun and luxury on board.
"When you enter the aircraft, it will seem as if you're entering a club. ... It'll be a very festive atmosphere," said Sean Smith, LV Air's chief marketing officer, describing dark blue and purple lighting in coach class, and club music pulsating from the speakers of the chartered Boeing 767s.
USA Today | It will be if Sheldon Adelson, best known as the man behind The Venetian and The Palazzo in Las Vegas, has his way. His Las Vegas Sands corporation also has holdings in Macau and Singapore, which have become Asian gaming meccas.
Now, Adelson is eyeing Spain. According to the Agence France-Presse wire service, the mogul is betting on establishing a "Euro Vegas."
He told the Foreign Correspondents Association in Singapore that Las Vegas Sands is talking to officials from Barcelona and Madrid to establish a strip of casinos.